The ever-charming George Clooney plays a maverick who makes his living travelling around the US firing unexpecting employees. Faced with the risk of being grounded to by a video conferencing desk, he takes a young go-getter on board to show her the ropes of corporate downsizing. He learns a little something himself instead and eventually has to face the drawbacks of his life choices. Dealing with themes of joblessness and loneliness, the humorous yet touching story is an enjoyable and thought-provoking watch. With sharp social commentary, indie wunderkind Jason Reitman tops his peers in this oh-so-trendy genre of warm-hearted drama comedies. V-MP

If we had to sum up gaming in 2009 in one word, that word would be ‘sequels’. Looking back at my reviews we notice that there were only three games that were not the latest instalment in a more-or-less long-running franchise. This is not necessarily a bad thing. These follow-ups tend to improve on their precursors as the developers take on board criticism from consumers and are able to use improved technology. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper to make a sequel than start a new game from scratch.

This neo-noir crime drama by temperamental German auteur Werner Herzog borrows the title of a classic 90s sleaze-fest, but that’s about it for the similarities. Herzog’s tale of a disintegrating lawman is set in beautifully shot post-Katrina New Orleans. With a loose-cannon cop, a prostitute love interest and botched drug deals, the story is hardly the height of originality. But luckily leading man Nicholas Cage is in top form. Known for his extensive collaboration with famed loony Klaus Kinski, Herzog is an old hand at coaxing riveting performances out of actors. Melancholy and manic in equal measure, Cage rampages through the city in ruins like a broken wind-up doll. PREMIERE 15 JAN.

Deals with the devil never really pan out, do they? When old Nick comes claiming his dues from old Dr Parnassus, the doc must enlist his travelling burlesque show for a race against time through a series of fantasy dreamscapes to get out of the mess. This film will no doubt be remembered for a posthumous performance by the late Heath Ledger, whose loss is made up by the trio of Hollywood hunks Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. But this is also a return to form by crackpot director Terry Gilliam. The former Monty Python animator conjures up some stunning visuals, even if his sense of drama and human relationships once again proves somewhat less acute

In Victorian society, upholding a facade of moral purity was important. Behind closed doors any kind of depravity could be indulged in, but all that was kept firmly out of public sight. If they’d had TV back then, they would probably have banned The Moment of Truth, a Colombian format that is sweeping the world, and now Finland!

Each week a contestant walks into the studio and answers a series of embarrassing personal questions to win a cash prize. To call their bluff, a pre-show lie detector test is administered. What comes out is the ignominious true face of humanity. Thus the appeal of the show is easy to understand. Seeing the poor saps spill their guts on their darkest personal secrets makes people feel better about little digressions of their own, which they’d rather keep under the lid.